ZEA MAYS - blog
From 2011 until 2013 Various Artists explored the theme Agriculture, and more specific the cultivation of corn in the past, present, and future. This project is called Zea Mays is part of his G-ke series of installations about Geopolitics.
The production of maize for non-traditional uses, not related to human consumption is a threat for it's future diversity. Bio-plastics, biofuel, forage, and high fructose corn syrup are all examples of applications that opens the doors for GMO corn.
Recently Mexico, a region at the origin of a huge diversity of maize, accepted the introduction of genetic manipulated corn into their food system. This decision risks to be followed by other countries, including Europe where GMO hasn't wide spread yet. Longterm research about GMO is insufficient but already proved to be unhealthy for human consumption.
Zea Mays reflects upon this possible future of corn in a visual, abstract way. Data, and research of the past, present, and future of maize, and its relation with feeding of an ever growing global population is being translated in various ways (human mathematics, drawings, carpets).
Arrival day in Mexico City. Our plane lands at 5:30 in one of the world's biggest cities. First challenge is to get through immigration. With only one employee available to funnel all 'extranjeros' into the country, a line of two hundred people is waiting in front of us. After almost 2 hours we manage to get in and head for 'la aduana'.
Our suitcases have been marked so dogs and further inspection are unescapable. Luckily the lady of the douane is very friendly, but amazed with our luggage stuffed with chocolates, biscuits, and beer from Belgium. We have breakfast at the airport (a bit funny because it's a French place with croissants and all), and are happy to get some real food after a dull flight.
Once outside we take a cab to Coyoacan, a friendly, and colourful neighbourhood that used to be a small town. Apparently this part of town is favoured by many artists, and poets. In Casa Tamayo we meet Patricia Tovar, our local coordinator of the project. For more than a year she has been in contact with the weavers and served as a bridge between Mexico and Europe.
The work on the carpets is completed!
According to Pastora, the president of the weavers association 'La Vida Nueva' is Zea Mays a jealous carpet. While weaving the carpet didn't allow them to think of anything else, but to stay focused on the blue, grey, and red lines. No time or headspace for other things. They are happy the carpet is finally finished!